Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Journeying Into the Future
The past is receding at the speed of light. Though the pathway that lies ahead is still a quantum distribution of possibilities enveloped within an ambience of the absolutely unknown and mysterious, the late spring (when I retired) seems very, very far away--already. When the past becomes so distant so fast, it must mean that an awful lot has happened in the interim; time speeds up when significant events compress.
For one thing--I had the strangest experience. On the 18th I gave the graduation speech for GED students at the Florence Prison. Jeanne came with me. The whole experience was elevating and utterly surprising. I talked on “Wisdom, Virtue, Self-Narratives, and the Future.” I talked about both external and internal prisons--“prisons of the mInd”--and the necessary connection between freedom and self-responsibility. One cannot be free until one accepts responsibility for one’s life--so I told them.
After my half hour talk, we spent the next three hours in a conversation with around ten of the inmate teachers--the cream of the crop.
Their minds are very much alive. They read and think and introspect on their inner psychological make-up and their lives. We discussed my writings (which they have been reading voraciously over the last few years), Ken Wilber, spiral dynamics, Freud, Albert Ellis, emotional catharsis, and cognitive therapy, among other topics, of which there were many. They are self-organized, self-directed learners. They have created an intricate and multi-faceted curriculum for themselves. Though they were all dressed in bright orange--their mark to define who they are--I forgot within a very short period of time that they were all prisoners in a jail. Some of them told me that through reading my writings on future consciousness I had changed their lives. They have been attempting to get me out there for the last couple of years and they want me to come back. They want to soak up as much knowledge as they can.
Who knows what the future has to hold? Is this some new calling?
This experience got me thinking that the prison is a metaphor on all of us. A mindset, a way of life, a paradigm of thinking and doing can be a prison. Lately I have been thinking that I have been in some kind of prison; I have trying to find/feel/sense freedom within my existential space and figure out where it is pointing me. Perhaps Sartre is right and anything is possible. But what would this mean in concrete terms? Perhaps I should follow the Tao? Follow God? Finding freedom begins with seeing the world differently. Freedom is connected with creativity. (See the last blog.)
If all goes according to plan, next year in Vancouver, at the World Future Society Convention, I will be doing a dialogue with the personal futurist Verne Wheelwright on creating a new life--an extended life--for oneself in the future. We will be working toward synthesizing Verne’s very practical and thoughtful advice on mapping and planning out one’s extended long term future with my ideas on creativity, virtue, future self-narrative, and transforming one’s life and self. (I am now doing the field work on this - cogitating on the whole thing.) See Verne’s new book, It’s Your Future…Make It a Good One! Verne is a resonant spirit and a wise soul.
This last month I did the forward for my friend and futurist colleague Marcus Anthony’s new book on “integrated intelligence.” Marcus believes that there is a cosmic intelligence that one can learn to tune into and use in guiding one’s life decisions and actions. (Sounds like “God” but Marcus is non-committal on this.) The notion of cosmic intelligence is not necessarily that fuzzy or super-natural--see my ideas on coordinative intelligence in my new book Mind Flight when it comes out.
Marcus’s new book is good. If nothing else, Marcus is clear, personal, and engaging; he covers a wide range of topics; he hits the nail on the head regarding many of the failings of modern civilization; and he lays his cards squarely on the table. See his site and book, Extraordinary Mind: Integrated Intelligence and the Future.
Freedom never occurs in a vacuum; it is always supported by both psychological and external factors. Philosophies can constrain and suffocate, or they can empower and elevate.
I am an evolving cyborg. This last month I turned in my desktop PC and bought a Mac. I am moving into the mind/perception/action space of the Mac. Jeanne is learning iTouch, and iTouch is taking her out into the world--the Web--into music/sensation/film. I am telling her that the Mac is drawing her in. Changing the instruments of one’s thinking and one’s experience transforms one’s self and mind; the mind is ecological. We are one with our machines. Our machines afford thinking, perceiving, and action spaces; they afford freedom and creation. See Andy Clark’s Natural Born Cyborgs.
Just for fun, and more, see the website Gajitz.
Our website is being significantly transformed--in conjunction with what is happening to us. The web and reading resources are going through a quantum leap forward. (I have been exploring the Web a lot more, and I have been going through my library--associations of both past and future are vibrating around in my mind and reverberating together. (If Ridley and Koestler are right this is the ground for creativity.) The number of slide presentations on our website is doubling. Videos are coming. Over the next few months different things are going to change their colors. Again, we are one with our machines--we reciprocally evolve together.
But the big thing for this coming month--if you are interested, email me or call. We are starting with the theme of creating a new reality--a new life--for the future.
Center for Future Consciousness
Think Tank and Educational Academy
First Saturday evening and third Wednesday evening each month
First meeting: September 4th, 2010
7 pm to 9 pm (or thereafter)
Location: Home Base
Patio under the stars
12578 East Poinsettia Drive, Scottsdale, Arizona
(Varied other locations in the future)
• To Develop Educational Ideas and Programs and Publications on the Future, Future Consciousness, and Other Themes Resonant with the CFC
• To Provide a Social and Intellectual Forum to Provoke, Inspire, and Stimulate Thinking
• To Pursue Wisdom, Enlightenment, and Heightened Future Consciousness
• To Contribute to the Thoughtful, Ethical, and Purposeful Evolution of Humanity